Monthly Archives: November 2010

I Did It

Well, I did it! No, not that! Get your minds out of the gutter. Jean is up North, but even if she was here it wouldn’t make a difference. No, I mean….

It’s time for me to fly back up North for Thanksgiving. I had thought about asking Bobby Butane to give me a ride to the Orlando airport, so I didn’t have to pay to park the car. You know me…not cheap, but thrifty. Anyway, when I checked, it was 2 hours and 5 minutes there, and the same back. Brother Bob hasn’t been perfect in his life, but he hasn’t been that bad, so I couldn’t ask him to do that. Besides, the cost of gas would have been more than the parking fee.

So I got on the internet and made reservations to park in one of the “off site” parking lots in Orlando. In order to take advantage of the internet offer, I had to print a copy of the reservation confirmation, so they can scan it when we leave the lot on Monday. The place we rented in Highlands Ridge has a computer and printer, but I have my laptop ‘cuz it has all my files and, most importantly, Quicken, so I know where the checkbook is at all times. The printer is a Lexmark Z43 and it has a parallel cable that hooks it up to the computer. My computer doesn’t have a parallel port, so I couldn’t use it.

This morning I went to Wal-Mart (you can get everything at Wal-Mart) to get a “parallel to USB cable converter”. Now I’m no computer geek, but I’m not a computer special needs case either. I had looked on the internet and they are available. They didn’t have any, and didn’t know where to tell me to find one. I went back to the house, called a neighbor, and asked if I could send the parking confirmation e-mail to her, and would she print it off for me? She said yes, I did, and she did. Problem solved. But wait…when I got back to our place, the e-mail from Delta came that said “Time To Check In and Print Your Boarding Passes”. Well, I couldn’t ask Karen to print something else for me, and she had told me about an OfficeMax next to the Winn Dixie grocery store and a Radio Shack at the mall.

I went to the Office Max, and they said they didn’t have a converter cable, but did have something that might work. I looked at it, and it was just what I was looking for. It was expensive, but cheaper than a printer, so I bought it. The package had been opened and brought back by someone who had bought the wrong thing, but that didn’t make any difference to me. I brought it home and hooked it up to my computer. Usually the computer loads an install program, but not much happened. I went through the process of adding the printer to my computer, but when it came to the drivers, the computer said, “…it didn’t have any…check with the manufacturer”. So I did. Apparently Lexmark doesn’t service the Lexmark Z43 on Windows 7. I had told the guy at OfficeMax that the cable was exactly what I needed and chuckled at the guy who brought it back, unable to use it.

My dilemma was to take it back and look like an idiot, or keep it and lose the money. You guessed it. I took it back. I just happened to be looking at printers while I was waiting for the return, and they had a cheap printer on sale for only $10 more than the cable I was bringing back. So, I bought one. We’ll be coming back down here each year and can leave it at Mom’s over the summer (Mothers don’t mind doing things like that for their kids, unlike Fathers who would say, “Why can’t you haul that thing back and forth with you. We don’t have the room and I don’t want to be stumbling over that crap all summer”). The guy asked if I had everything I needed and I said yes. So I brought it back to Highlands Ridge. I followed the instructions and, when it got to the part that said, “…attach the printer cable to the printer and your computer…”, I realized that the printer cable didn’t come in the box with the printer.

So, it was back to the store for a printer cable. Those little buggers aren’t cheap. Luckily, I had a different salesman each time so I didn’t have to “eat crow”, at least out loud. I had driven into town so many times, I had to stop for gas so I could make it to the airport tomorrow. The gas at the station next to Publix and Winn Dixie was $2.89 and I know it was $2.79 at a Race Track up in Avon Park, so I came back the long way and filled up. I came back to the rental, hooked up the printer with my brand new printer cable, and printed off two boarding passes (just in case I lose one).

So back to the title of the e-mail. A couple of days ago I was whining about being bored. Well, I took a job that should have taken one trip to the store and 20 minutes to hook it up, and made it last all day. Luckily I’m retired.

Just (Tired So I Think I’ll Take A Nap) Jack


Most of you already know I’ve been nursing a sore knee for a year or so, and have been recovering from having it scoped in April. I’ve taken what the doctors and rehab people have told me seriously, and have eased myself back into exercise. I still haven’t run ‘cuz my weight isn’t down where it should be yet. I’m still down 13 pounds from my “high”, but with the holidays coming, I just hope to stay at that level, and start losing again in 2011. I’ve been walking, riding the bike, swimming, and playing pickleball.

I’ve listened to everyone at the pickleball courts when they say not to go after the balls you can’t get. So, a week ago Jean and I rode up to the pickleball courts together. As I dismounted my bike, I bent over to loosen the clip on my bike shoes, and felt a “twinge” in my back. I didn’t think much of it, and went into the courts. There were five of us, so I agreed to sit out and let the others play. The game was lengthy. Four other guys came and played a game on the other court. When they finished, they asked me if I wanted to play and I said yes. I didn’t think much about the fact that my back was not perfect, and I had cooled down from sitting after the ride to the courts (2.65 miles).

On the third point, I served, and the opposing player returned it deep to my side of the court. I returned it to their mid-court, and the guy “tunked it” just over the net. I was out of position, but thought I could get to the ball. It’s not my fault…it’s testosterone…I couldn’t help it. I pushed off my left foot and felt my calf muscle tear. I’m not sure whether it was the gastrocnemius or the soleus (felt like the soleus but what do I know?), but it wasn’t pretty. I thought I could walk it off, but after two steps, I called for a sub. The more I sat, the tighter it got, so I walked back and forth on the sidelines for quite a while. I was able to ride my bike back to the house we are renting, but spent the rest of the day icing, compressing, and elevating my leg, while lying flat on my back on the couch.

Now, a week later, my back is still very sore (it has been all week), and my calf is still very tender. A couple of days ago I noticed my leg, from the injury down, turning a yellowish brown color. i expected the bruising, so that wasn’t a shock. I’ve babied the leg, but that will take a while to repair itself. As to the back, I’ve ridden my bike nearly every day (until yesterday) and, a couple of times, rode every street in the development (15.67 miles). I drove Jean to the airport on Thursday, and then drove to my mother’s (about 200 miles total). Then the next day I drove over 100 miles back to Sebring. Apparently riding in the car, stuck in one position for several hours isn’t on the list of rehab therapies for the back. So now I’m staying off the bike, not playing pickleball, not walking (I do walk around in the house), but did swim a half mile today. We’ll see how it goes.

Without Jean here, and unable to do anything athletic, I’m a little bored. I’ve watched about all the movies I can take on Turner Classic Movies. I just turned off a college football game replay when the score got to be Alabama 49, Georgia State 7. I’m already sick of CNN’s coverage of the Royal Wedding, and if I have to watch the TSA feeling up passengers any more, I’ll scream. I can’t hope for a hurricane or another natural disaster. Having others in misery just ‘cuz I’m bored isn’t right. I spent the morning driving around to Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware before I found a door bracket for the screen door closer on the lanai (we broke the other one). It only took 1 minute and 45 seconds to replace it. I should have stretched that into an hour or so.

Nothing else is happening here, so there isn’t anything else to tell you. I did find a six pack of Cigar City “Maduro” Brown Ale, so I may have to go out on the upper lanai (we have two levels), and watch the sun go down.

Just (It’s Five O’clock Somewhere) Jack


I just finished setting up a payment for my credit card later this month. I always pay the entire amount so I don’t have to pay any interest. This one contained the expenses from the New Orleans trip, the trip down here to Florida and the trip home for Thanksgiving. With over $700 in motels/hotels, over $700 in meals, and over $500 in airline tickets, it’s a “doozie”. Since both Jean and I don’t have jobs, we’ll have to start thinking about not spending so much money, so our savings will last until our demise. We did go out to eat twice this last weekend, but Jean paid for one of the meals. I’m still in shock. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We’re getting used to the critters here in Florida. They are different than Michigan, but follow the same patterns. The day before yesterday, the bug guys were here spraying around the outside of the house. Maybe that’s why there were some dead bugs with their feet in the air when we looked at the place to rent. Anyway, the guy told us that an armadillo had tunneled into the ground near the air conditioner. I walked around the place yesterday and found the hole. I kicked some sand in it to see if the hole was active or not. We told the office about it, who will pass it on to the landlord. It’s not our problem, so we’ll see what happens. They can be nearly as destructive as woodchucks in Michigan.

The first day or so that we were here, the Geico gecko tried to waltz through the living room. Jean tapped him on the shoulder (with her shoe in her hand) and told him he wasn’t welcome. Funny thing. That guy isn’t as tough as he appears on television. When she helped him out of the room, she opened the paper towel to show me, and his guts were splattered everywhere. Luckily we don’t have that company for our insurance, so we aren’t likely to be canceled.

Our mail has finally started to arrive (forwarded from Michigan), and I’m paying a couple of the bills I pay by check. I went to the mailbox the other day to put a letter in, and there was a frog hopping around in there. I don’t think he was trying to steal our mail, so I left him alone. After killer Jean left her mark, I didn’t want the critters to start an all out war. On the plus side, we saw a bald eagle while we were riding back from pickle ball last Saturday. I’ve seen plenty of them in my lifetime, and there are many down here for the winter. But I’m always in awe when I see them floating in the sky. They certainly are majestic. We also saw a large owl on our way home from the Wednesday night dinner at the South golf course clubhouse. It was large, flew down from a tree, and landed on the curb. It was either a Screech Owl or a Barred Owl. I’m not really up on my Florida birds yet, so I’m not really sure. We also saw raccoons, but they’re the same everywhere, and I don’t want to get involved with them again after the cottage fiasco.

Happy Veterans Day to all who have served our country. I was in the Air Force for four years. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything, but I wouldn’t want to do it again. I protected our country from Orlando, Florida and San Bernardino, California. Both of those cities were safe in the late sixties, thanks to our squadron.

Just (Proud To Be An American, Especially On Veterans Day) Jack

Someone Help Me

Most of you know that Jean and I are spending the winter in Florida. We came the long way, by way of Baton Rouge, after stopping in Nashville to see Jean’s brother and sister-in-law. We got here last Monday, about mid-day, and spent the rest of the day unpacking and buying a few groceries ($124.88 and we didn’t have much). Up North, many of you keep Jean’s time occupied with women on weights, pickle ball, and her favorite exercise, holding the phone next to her ear for hours at a time.

Down here, she’s put me on a training schedule that I’m not sure I can sustain. Tuesday it was a 5.3 mile walk. Wednesday it was a bike ride in and out of every street in Highlands Ridge (15.67 miles). Thursday she let me get away with a 4 mile walk. Friday, another 15.67 mile bike ride, followed by pickle ball practice for half an hour. On Saturday she forced me to play pickle ball for two hours. Yesterday she made me walk 4 miles in 45 degree, windy weather before church. Robert came over last night (his birthday was Saturday), so she has him down at the pickle ball courts and I get a day’s relief, so I’m doing laundry.

I need someone to come down and keep her occupied or I’m going to, under some protest, be back in shape. I’ve kind of enjoyed this year of laziness, blaming everything on my knee. After all that walking, all that biking, and a couple of bouts of pickle ball, my knee feels fine. No more excuses. On the plus side, we’ve met lots of people, and partied a little more than we’re used to, so the weight isn’t melting off, and I won’t be able to run for a while yet.

I’ve been trying to eat well and, for the most part, have succeeded. On the way down, when we stopped for breakfast or lunch, I tried to eat healthy choices. It isn’t always easy. We stopped somewhere in Southern Mississippi for lunch and gas (gasoline), and went into the smallest McDonalds I’ve ever seen. It had two cash registers, but the whole counter couldn’t have been more than 5 feet long. A young girl came up and asked for our orders. Jean got a broiled chicken sandwich and a fruit smoothie. I wanted a salad. They had a southwest salad with fried or broiled chicken, a spicy ranch salad, also with fried or broiled chicken, and Caesar salad with fried or broiled chicken.

I said, “I’ll have the Southwest Salad with broiled chicken”. She asked, “So you want chicken with that?” to which I responded, “Yes, broiled.” So then she asked, “What kind of dressing would you like?” Of course I said, “What kind of dressing do you have?” She said, “Well, we have Caesar, spicy ranch, and southwest”. I said, “I guess I’ll have the southwest”. She responded, “O.K. Your wife wants the broiled chicken sandwich and a fruit smoothie, and you would like a southwest chicken salad with broiled chicken and southwest dressing?” I said yes, turned around, and rolled my eyes to Jean.

Jean went over and got napkins, straws, and picked out a table. I watched the girl making Jean’s fruit smoothie. It’s made in a machine, and she seemed to have an awful time getting the plastic container under the mechanism and settled into it’s spot. The machine started to drop the smoothie into the container and, before it was done, she picked it up and shook it around. Apparently there’s a weight sensor where the container sits so that when nothing is there, it won’t drop the smoothie onto the base and make a mess. That stopped the machine with only a half a smoothie made. The supervisor looked at her, shook her head, and said “Now you’re going to have to start all over again”, walking away in disgust. So kids, PLEASE STAY IN SCHOOL!!!

So now Jean has volunteered us to play golf in a couples golf outing this Friday. She keeps saying, “Jack’s a good golfer”. I think she’s setting me up for failure. I’m not a good golfer, I’ve never been better than a 15 handicap in my best days, and I haven’t played golf for a year and a half. Then, I played 54 holes, and that was after not playing for a year before that. I’m guessing the people will catch on after a hole or two, and won’t ask us again, which is fine with me.

I’m discovering what I forgot to bring down here. We had been invited to a dinner at the south golf course clubhouse last Wednesday, and I was getting ready. After my shower, I went into the walk-in closet and realized I hadn’t brought any golf shirts. I had one button down dress shirt, and the rest were triathlon race t-shirts. I did have one New Orleans Margaritaville t-shirt, so I wore that. Thursday I went to Belks and bought three new golf shirts. This forgetfulness is getting expensive.

Just (Please Help Me, Come Down, And Share This Burden) Jack